In the mid 1960s, a small group of people pitched a tent in the mountains of Kangwŏn province and began building Yesuwŏn (Jesus Abbey). They were led by an American Anglican couple who envisioned a quiet, twelve-member household dedicated to prayer, labor, and the experiment of communal living. But by the mid 1980s, thousands were visiting the “Abbey” each year, and its long-term household at times reached fifty or more. The lifestyle of this community and the writings of its founder, Archer Torrey, became a popular reference point in movements toward renewal in mainstream Korean Evangelicalism. This position of influence may be traced to several factors. First, the Abbey’s existence and the teachings of its founder have challenged the tendency in the mainstream Korean Church to favor sectarianism and church growth over holism and social justice. At the same time, the community’s message has affirmed the traditional emphases of prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit. Finally, the Abbey’s manner of existence independent of a mission board and adaptive to the needs arising over time has further integrated it into the Korean Christian landscape. As of this writing, the community faces a time of transition, and the experiment remains open to the future.


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pp. 139-167
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